The summer holidays are upon us and you may very well be tearing your hair out at the thought of having to accommodate staff who need to juggle childcare with continuing the smooth running of your business.

We have a few hints and tips to help you cope with the inevitable challenges that the summer holidays bring: –

 

  • Flexible working

 

Business isn’t all about working 9am to 5pm. By allowing your staff to work flexible hours during the summer holidays, you’re making their lives easier as well as making sure that they are still productive and working hard for your business. Think about allowing staff to work condensed hours or take annual leave by the hour rather than by the day. This allows them to spend time with their children as well as continuing to work.

 

  • Home working

 

Another way of solving staff absences during the school holidays is to allow your staff to work from home. Many employers find that employees are more productive when they work at home and this can help employees who struggle with childcare. It’s not a suitable solution for all types of work or industry but it’s definitely worth thinking about.

 

  • Temp staff

 

Yes, temporary and agency staff will come at a cost but they can be a great help to the workplace when there is a staff shortage. Hiring agency workers or students during the holiday period could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

  • Use a Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistants can help keep your business running over the holiday period. Whether you need a telephone answering service, someone to keep an eye on your emails or some extra admin support they can help you out.

 

 

  • Manage the workload

 

It’s important not to burn out staff who are left behind during the holiday season. Remember that not everybody has children, but the holiday period can be as equally hard for those staff as it is for those that do have children. Try not to overload one person with all of  the work. Where possible, spread the workload evenly to help prevent the quality of work being compromised. This will also help to reduce staff illnesses and a feeling of resentment.

It might also be worth using the summer holidays as a time to reflect on your business. Catch up on jobs that you’ve been putting off, like your accounts or refining some processes. Get ahead before everybody gets back in September and things start to pick up again.

 

 

  • Refusing Holiday Requests

 

Remember that you can refuse a holiday request from a member of staff if it’s at a time which is inconvenient for your business. However, you shouldn’t be unreasonable and you should try to accommodate staff requests as much as possible.

But don’t treat parents differently to non-parents. Yes, parents obviously have childcare arrangements to think about, but non-parents are also entitled to a break and some, if not most, would like to be able to relax and enjoy some time off in the sun as well.

 

 

  • Ban on Holidays During Specific Periods

 

You can also put a clause in your Employment Contracts that bans staff from taking holiday during particular times of the year, e.g. during January for accountants, during the Christmas period, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day for florists etc.

 

 

  • Bring Your Child To Work Day(s)

 

If you have staff members who have children aged between 8 and 16 years old, why not allow your staff to bring their children into work for a few days throughout the summer holidays? It’s a great way to give some educational, interactive and inspiring experiences to school-aged children, and also takes the pressure off their parents a bit as well.

Get them involved in simple tasks and keep their minds occupied. But make sure that your insurance covers you when children are in the workplace.

 

 

  • HR Management System

 

To make life easier for yourself and your staff, why not invest in an online HR management system? It helps staff to find documents and policies or your staff handbook, without the need to actually ask you for a hard copy of it (thus saving on paper and printing!). You can also incorporate a holiday calendar within that HR management system so that staff can see exactly how much holiday they have left to book, and can also see who else has already booked time off and when. This will save time on having to work out remaining holiday entitlement and work around already booked holidays.

 

 

  • Overtime and Commission

 

If your staff undertake regular overtime, whether it’s guaranteed or voluntary, you need to make sure that you’re including this overtime in that staff member’s holiday entitlement and pay. Also, if you pay your staff commission you will need to include this commission in their holiday pay.

If you need any further advice on anything HR or employment law related, drop us an email at info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk or give us a call on 01634 564 136.

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